Ads for “Affordable Care Act” Claim to Protect Medicare: Really?

Color PortraitBy Elizabeth Lee Vliet, MD,

Proponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have a very costly, tax-payer funded national advertising campaign—posing as “protectors” of Medicare—even as the massively unpopular law cut $500-$800 billion from Medicare to fund expansion of Medicaid, shifting more medical care services to younger voters.

One Arizona Democrat said this is just “excess” money in the Medicare budget. Whom is he hoodwinking? Cutting $500-800 billion over 10 years is like cutting all Medicare to all recipients for 18 months. Smart seniors know that you cannot have the same level of medical services with such draconian budget cuts.

In the dark of night, in back room deals, with coercion and single party control, Democrat leaders Pelosi and Reid rammed through Congress the ironically named “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” or PPACA, in 2010. PPACA is neither protective of patients, nor affordable.

The 2010 healthcare law created the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) of 15 unelected board members, appointed by the President to determine therapies, procedures, tests, and medications covered by Medicare, and therefore allowed for Medicare patients and people covered under non-Medicare insurance offered through the government–run exchanges.

The decisions of the IPAB are not subject to Congressional oversight or judicial review. IPAB’s job is to cut costs by cutting medical services. Privately run insurance companies have appeal processes in place to protect patients. Doctors successfully use those appeals all the time to have medical care approved for payment. ObamaCare has no appeal process to protect you. Does this sound like patient protection?

The bureaucrats appointed under this Administration have already cut back on preventive medical screenings, such as PSA for prostate cancer and tests for breast cancer, and have recommended reducing CTs and MRIs, reducing back surgeries, reducing hip and knee replacements, and reducing approvals for hospital re-admissions for the same illness within 30 days of discharge. Does this sound like patient protection?

The same unelected bureaucrats in control of your medical care have further reduced access by drastically reducing Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals. Even Medicare’s chief actuary, Richard Foster, said these cuts mean 30-40% of hospitals would have to close by 2030. Does this sound like patient protection?

Still lower payments to doctors, already well below the costs of delivering care and propped up by privately insured patients, mean thousands more doctors will stop taking new Medicare patients. Want to pay for your own care? Sorry. Even private contracting is jeopardized under the new intrusive compliance regulations. Does this sound like patient protection?

The “Affordable Care” Act has imposed new taxes on recipients, such as the tax on investment income, new taxes on medical devices, and new taxes on medications. Higher costs are passed on to seniors. This is not affordable for people on fixed incomes.

The new healthcare law also slashes Medicare Advantage, the privately run plans most often chosen by low-income seniors. Cutting Medicare Advantage pushes low-income seniors into more expensive government-run plans. How is this affordable? Does this sound like patient protection?

“Patient Protection” Act proponents claim they “closed the doughnut hole.” They lure seniors into a false sense of security. Most haven’t noticed the shortages of critical medicines. You may not have to pay for it, but if you can’t get what you need when you need it, how does that help protect patients? In reality, it may jeopardize your life.

ObamaCare supporters claim that it will cut the national deficit—based on double counting fictional savings. In reality, the actual federal deficit would increase by up to $340 billion over the next 10 years, according to a meticulous study of PPACA’s spending and revenue projections by Charles Blahous of the Mercatus Center. (See http://mercatus.org/sites/default/files/publication/The-Fiscal-Consequences-of-the-Affordable-Care-Act_1.pdf)

The upcoming elections provide a stark contrast in choices: Democrats who support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act claim to be protecting Medicare. Maybe they mean protecting Medicare bureaucrats. They are most certainly not protecting Medicare patients.

This election season, your vote may determine the fate of your life. Don’t fall for platitudes or believe the ads. Use your common sense.

Look at what this intrusive, draconian new healthcare law has already done to seniors: budget cuts, increased taxes on drugs and medical devices, increased taxes on your investment income, and rules that cause physicians to stop taking Medicare patients.

Those who voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act need to be voted out of office in 2012 before they kill us with their “protections.”


Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D. is a preventive and climacteric medicine specialist with medical practices in Tucson AZ and Dallas TX that take an integrated approach to evaluation and treatment of women and men with complex medical and hormonal problems. Dr. Vliet is also President of International Health Strategies, Ltd., whose mission is twofold: liberty and privacy in treatment options and preservation of the Oath of Hippocrates focus on the individual patient.

Dr. Vliet is the 2007 recipient of the Voice of Women award from the Arizona Foundation for Women for her pioneering advocacy for the overlooked hormone connections in women’s health. Dr. Vliet received her M.D. degree and internship in Internal Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, then completed specialty training at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Vliet is a Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Vliet has appeared on FOX NEWS, Cavuto, Stuart Varney Show, Fox and Friends and syndicated radio shows across the country addressing the economic and medical impact of the new healthcare bill. Dr. Vliet’s medical and educational website is http://www.herplace.com/.

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